As a toddler, she got her first glimpse of her parents’ Marvel Comics books; by age seven (7) she was collecting her own; by age eleven (11) she had started sketching her favourite characters in classic poses.
After years of working without instruction, in 1987, while on the long vacation break from the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, she was introduced to Ronald Smith, artist and teacher, by a mutual friend. Thereafter, between 1987 and 1992, she spent every teaching break under Mr. Smith’s daily tutelage studying portraiture and figures.
While enrolled as a first year student at Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago, she audited a year-long course in fine arts facilitated by Mr. Andy Jacob at the Creative Arts Centre, University of the West Indies – St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago. After graduating from the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1992, while she longed to paint, Zen concentrated on her legal career for the next several years.
Between 2005 and 2007, Zen registered for a series of short art courses with Gerard Gittens, at the Art Academy in Trinidad and Tobago, again focusing on portraiture and the figure.
In early 2008, after a particularly stressful week, Zen found herself sketching and painting flowers after midnight. Shortly thereafter she resumed occasional classes with Mr. Ronald Smith, finally making a commitment to her continuing artistic education and in July, 2008.
With the encouragement of Mr. Ronald Smith and family and friends, in particular Ms. Kathy Gonzales, Zen held her first exhibition at the Horticultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago. The exhibition ran for one day and was a resounding success.
Encouraged and emboldened, Zen held a second exhibition in July 2010 and plans are being made to exhibit in Miami in 2011/2012.
As an artist, Zen is inspired by finding the divine within the mundane every day; while she might find inspiration from roses, orchids and recognized flowers, she finds greater inspiration from wildflowers and humble weeds whose blooms have been expertly created by celestial hands, and which strive almost unnoticed in difficult terrain. She is committed to the conservation of our tropical environment, and challenges her caribbean viewers to modify their often Eurocentric view on what is beautiful in flora. Her ultimate mission, however, is to have people recognize that we are all divine flowers, and that we must take the time to enjoy each other, as well as to enjoy simply being in being.
Zen has a master of law degree from the University of London and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of the West Indies.
Zen is married to Leroy Gregory James and they have two beautiful daughters, Gabriella and Danielle.